Monday, October 22, 2012

Pictures and Letter from Cartagena

This week has been pretty good. We´ve had some days that we´ve just been rocking then others where we barely have any lessons and no one wants to talk to us. Weather has been better/ I´m getting used to it a little more. I´m still sticky all the time, but it´s not as bad as the first week. Sometimes during the day a big rain cloud will pass over and just pour for 10 minutes then be gone. It´s super random.

Language is getting better, I can understand and talk a little more. There are still a ton of things that I can´t talk about. People always as me about food and the different types that are here and what I like, but I don´t know the words for all the different foods so I just say that we don´t have it in the states. Also one kid always asks me different names of animals but I don´t know those either so he tries to act out what it is. Also people will always ask me to talk English to them and they thinks it´s funny that they have no idea what I´m saying, but I´ve had a few people want me to help them learn English. One guy wants to read the bible in English, but we´re going to take him a Book of Mormon to read instead. 

We´ve had a few lessons where there is the tv on or music playing next door and it´s awful, I can´t focus at all, especially when the music is in English and the movies are Lord of the Rings and 2012. 

I´m kinda tired right now. Didn´t get a ton of sleep because the power went off at 2 in the morning which meant my fan stopped working at 2 in the morning and it didn´t come back on till like 5:30. 

We also went to a chapel overlooking Cartagena today, it´s called Convento Santa Cruz de La Popa so I´ll send some pictures too. 

This week though I saw a guy just walking around wearing a cement bag, there was a karate tournament at the church and saw some guys get absolutely destroyed, but ya, that´s about it for this week. Not super eventful. Love you all! Abrazos y besos

A Link to all pictures is:  Cartagena Pictures

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week #12 - Cartagena

How´s it going!? This week was pretty good and kinda bad, but overall good. We had about 2 days where all the lessons fell through and no one wanted to talk to us when we were knocking doors, so those days were a little frustrating, but we had other days when the lessons were awesome.  

Although whenever we´re trying to teach and there´s a tv on in the house, it´s game over and I can never focus.  One thing that I´ve been missing alot is music, all of it sounds the same here and it´s getting kind of annoying. But whenever we´re walking and I hear an American song it´s amazing! Also in the house to have my ipod is great so thank you Clint for giving me the music.

We´ve been teaching this couple and they´ve been really receptive, but need to get married and last night they said they wanted to! So hopefully when December 8th roles around, it will happen!

Spanish is getting a little better, getting more confident. I think that I´ve just become comfortable with not understanding everything that people say because I don´t understand alot, but I´m fine with it. It´s frustrating though when people ask a question and I didn´t understand so they say it again but the exact same speed so I still don´t get it. I also hate the words ´exacto´ and ´claro´ because people say that all the time to us when we´re teaching a lesson and I just want to say ´no, it´s not claro because it if was, you´d be reading the scriptures and coming to church´.

The weather has been good this week, nice and cloudy. Also my companion had to go to the dentist for a filling. It took like 10 minutes. We just walked in, sat down, and the dude started going to work. Then we´ve had two elders go to the doctor for ingrown toenails and one of them had the entire nail taken because it was so bad, now he can´t walk for about 7 days. I really don´t want anything to happen to me.

The whole mail system is pretty reliable here if you send stuff, but it costs a pantload to send stuff back so I won´t be sending things back. I also got a haircut today for 4 mil, which is about 2´s really short. Basically buzzed.

Dad to answer your questions: Living in the apartment are 3 companionships then right next door (like a foot) is another three. There are 4 other americans then the rest are from other parts of southamercia. The name of my ward, neighborhood, area is Alpes. Feeling good about the mission, keep thinking ´this would never happen in america!!´ but it´s great!  For breakfast we just eat cereal bread and juice. Sometimes hotdogs. Lunch we usually have with members so that´s better. We haven´t had dinner yet so we just eat when we get back to the apartment so around 9:30. Clothing and shoes are doing well. Typical day. wake up at 6, exercise, eat/shower, study from 8 to 9, comp study 9 to 10, language 10 to 12, lunch from 12 to 2, lessons from 2 to 9, planning at 9 to 9:30, then chill, shower, write in journals, and eat some food.

{Map of area where Cartagena Los Alpes Stake Center is located}

Love you all! Till next week! Abrazos y besos!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 11 - Cartagena

Well this week was better than last week, I´m understanding more and feel more confident speaking. Everyday it a little better than the last, but it´s really hard in lessons when we ask a question, then the person rambles and talks really fast, I have no idea what they are saying, then my companion looks to me and I just stare back blankly. Other than that, the language is great! 

The weather is still killer. Everyday I just hope and pray for clouds to be in the sky and everyday it seems like they are everywhere but our area.  There was a lightning storm last week and it looked like God had put a strobe light in the sky and was pounding on tribal drums through the night. 

We also had a power outaged around 9, then it came back on, then went out again in the middle of the night. I woke up sweating and thought I was going to die because I didn´t have a fan. I resorted to using envelopes to fan myself for 40 minutes until the power finally came back on. 

We still walk a ton during the day so I sweat a ton, but I´m getting a little more used to the humidity, not much. But I´m starting to figure out where we are actually walking so I know where we are going and where things are.  

Saturday and Sunday we spent pretty much the entire day inside a chapel watching conference. Saturday we watched it in Spanish and I didn´t get a whole lot of spiritual enlightenment out of it. The songs were in English so that was my favorite part. And the first few seconds when the speaker starts talking and the translator voice hasn´t kicked in yet. But! Sunday we got to watch it in English!!! In a seperate room on a tiny little tv, but it was marvelous! 

This week was kinda uneventful, some people had my read some intructions in English for them, but nothing huge just doing misisonary work! 

Love you all! Abrazos y besos!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cartagena - Los Alpes! First Week in The Field

Well It´s been a long almost two weeks. In Bogota we went out proselyting again, packed our bags, and said our last farwells to the CCM at 3 a.m. At the airport we just handed the people our bags and they threw them onto the convey belt, which was good because I know both my bags were overweight. 

Just a llama on the side of the street
The flight to Barranquilla was about an hour and a half, but right when we stepped off the plane I felt like I was being hugged by a warm damp blanket. The Mission President greeted us then we piled onto a bus to go to a chapel. Once we got to the chapel we had a small lunch that consisted of chocolate bread, an oat smootie, and an apple. 

Then we slept on the church pews to catch up on sleep, but it just felt gross laying where everyone´s butts go. After had a quick interview with the President, and since I don´t know a lot of Spanish, it was pretty quick. They then shipped us out to some elders house where we paired up and headed out with another missionary already in the field for the rest of the day. 

Me and Elder Neff were together and the entire time people were just saying that we were gringos and couldn´t speak spanish and were sweaty. All of wich were true, but I just wanted to cry that day, I´ll be honest, that was the suckiest day. And to top that day off they made us put 7 matresses on the floor that had been festering in rat poop and then 8 elders had to share the 7 matresses and 2 fans. 

The next day (Wednesday) we went back to the chapel and got our new companions. My companions name is Elder De Los Santos from the Dominican Republic! He´s awesome, hard worker, and very nice so everyone likes him. He also lets me talk in the lessons so I´m loving that. 

After we got our companions, we loaded into another bus and headed to Cartagena where I am currently at. My area is called Los Alpes. The apartment has 5 other elders in it and I´m pretty sure undiscovered bacteria live here. Going proselyting is great, alot of walking, alot of not understanding, and a lot of sweating. 

I didn´t think it was possible to sweat this much. Just sitting in a chair I´ll be sweating. If there isn´t a fan near by, I´m sweating. Fans are like gold here because it´s eternally hot and humid and having a fan blow on your body is like christmas for your body. 

The people here are way nicer than the people in Bogota which makes talking easier. So far, I´ve been a witness for a wedding and 6 baptisms. So off to a pretty good start! 

Other randoms things: The only temperature on the shower is cold so I´m stuck with that for 22 more months, but since it´s always hot, it´s not a huge deal. Since today has been the first time we have gone to the store, my diet has been pretty much just bread and juice. The water here is like poisen. I think I drank some a few days ago because something destoyed my insides and I´m back to normal now. 

There are 3 other northamericans in the apartment and two latinos, my companion included. The fashion here is quite different from the states, for guys, swim suit bottoms are a must and a shirt is optional. For women, skin tight clothing is a necessity, no matter the age. Even old grandmas. And bras are also optional... It´s no bueno at times. 

It rains here like no one´s business, floods streets, and the sound of thunder sounds like the sky is about to shatter. I kinda almost got robbed too on my first day. We were walking and this guy walks up to me and asks for a cell phone, which I didn´t have, and reaches into my pockets, pats me down a bit then figured I was telling him the truth when I said I didn´t have a phone. 

Each day a learn a little more Spanish and am able to understand better. Although I still can never figure out where we are when we are walking. The streets are nuts, no signs, and crossing streets is like human frogger. I also ate some liver the other day. Didn´t taste too bad, but definately strange. Also we have ants evrywhere in our apartment. Oh and also if alot of this is spelt wrong it´s because there is no autocorrect and every word is this email is underlined red since the default language is Spanish. 

Well that´s it for me! Pretty exciting week! Love you all and thanks for the support! 

Abrazos y besos!  

Week #9 - No News from Nathan

Well - we didn't get a letter last week, which is what Nathan told us may happen.  He thought that his new P-day was going to be on Monday & since he was shipping out on Tuesday morning from Bogotá to Barranquilla, he might now be able to be in touch until today.

So today, we got some awesome pictures emailed to us, but we still don't know where he is, who his companion is, or how he's doing!  We're a little anxious, but I'm sure Nathan is taking it all in stride & hopefully having a great time.

Bogotá MTC Pictures

Here's some of the pictures that he sent: